Student teachers' beliefs about mentoring and learning to teach during teaching practice

Anneke Zanting, Nico Verloop, Jan D. Vermunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Various interpretations of mentor roles, by teacher educators and mentors, have been described in the literature on mentoring, while those of student teachers have received less attention. Therefore, this study focuses on student teachers' expectations of mentors and their own contributions to their learning process while they are supervised by a mentor. Aims. The main aims of this study were: (1) bridging the research on mentoring and the research on higher education students' learning conceptions by investigating student teachers' beliefs about mentoring and learning to teach, and (2) comparing these beliefs to mentors' ones and recent views on mentoring and learning in order to make suggestions for improving learning to teach. Sample. Thirty student teachers, graduates in various academic disciplines, participated. They were attending a one-year teacher education programme at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Methods. Structured interviews with the student teachers were audio-taped. Firstly, categories of mentor roles and learning activities were derived from the data. These were linked, secondly, by their focus of attention and, thirdly, empirically by a homogeneity analysis (HOMALS). Results. Six mentor roles, ten learning activities, and one regulation activity were combined in six foci: (1) affective aspects of learning to teach, (2) mentors' teaching styles, (3) assessment of student teachers' performance. (4) reflecting on students' lessons, (5) school context, and (6) self-regulation of learning. The HOMALS analysis yielded a process-product dimension. Conclusion. In this study, the student teachers' beliefs about mentoring were similar to those of mentors. Furthermore, a third of the student teachers expected themselves as thinking critically about their lessons, but nobody expected their mentors to explicate their practical knowledge underlying their teaching. Therefore, the articulation of this knowledge is indicated as an additional mentor role and will be elaborated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-80
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


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